By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
Thomas Sears, who came up through the ranks as a player, coach, administrator and official, is putting his name in the hat for president of the Bahamas Softball Federation.
The BSF will be seeking a new administrative team when their annual general meeting and election of officers takes place on Saturday, March 27 as current president Ted Miller has indicated that he will not be seeking another term in office.
There are reports that veteran player/coach Alphonso Chicken Albury and former journalist/businessman Tommy Stubbs, who is currently heading the New Providence Oldtimers Softball Association, may also be running for the top post.
But while neither have confirmed, Sears released his slate of officers, who are committed to putting their names on the ballot sheets.
Under his candidacy, Exumas Kendal Ferguson will be running for first vice president, New Providence Softball Association president Desiree Coakley will be seeking the second vice president post and Hilton Bowleg will contest the third vice president spot.
Also, Nicara Curtis, a former executive in the Bahamas Government Departmental Association, will be running for fourth vice president and Eleutheras Gerard Coakley will be going after the fifth vice president position.
Keishalyn Moss will be seeking the treasurers position and versatile player Larikah Russell, who operates between New Providence and Grand Bahama, will be up for assistant treasurer.
Eriker Albury will be running for the post of secretary general with Tim Clarke getting the nomination for assistant secretary and public relations, while Celeste Williamson will contest the chaplin spot.
Sears got involved in softball in 1985 as a player with the BTC Beepers in the BGDSA.
After playing, he moved up as treasurer under the presidency of Thora Sweeting and under the late Arthur Old Art Thompson, Sears became a certified umpire in 1992.
At the time, there was a ruling that you couldnt be a player and an official at the same time in the league, so I officially stopped playing fastpitch, but I still dabbled in slowpitch and modified, while servicing as a fastpitch umpire.
In 2002, Sears became an international certified umpire. He is a WBS Level Four umpire with just one level to go and he has attained the highest level of six in the Bahamas.
With those credentials behind his name, Sears said he feel hes adequately qualified to step up and take on the mantle of the BSF.
Softball has given me the opportunity to see the world of softball and so I have a different perspective from most people because of my travels, Sears stated.
Ive been to two Pan American Games, two CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Games and Ive been to the Junior World Championships, so there are some experiences from those tournaments that I believe I can make an impact on softball here.
Looking at his slate of officers, Sears said he has a group of dedicated individuals who have participated at all levels, who bring some kind of accountability into the game.
Theres a perception out there that softball is on the decline and in order to raise the awareness of the sport, we need persons who have a vision for softball and who can articulate the vision for softball. With a good mixture of persons from New Providence and the Family Islands, Sears said softball needs some restructuring coming out of the pandemic.
I did a survey earlier in thed year and out of that survey, I discovered that there needs to be a restructuring for softball for it to go to the next level, he pointed out.
Some rebranding need to be done because all around the world, organizations have been rebranding their product. From what I understand, softball here havent been rebranded since 1992.
With the change in times and the new norm that will come as a result of the pandemic, Sears said they have to find innovative ideas to get the fans back into the stands and for more participants to participate.
There are a myriad of things that we need to do in order to take softball to the next level, he said. So theres not just one thing that need to be done.
Hopefully we will be able to resume some type of softball competition before the end of the year. And so, if elected, our team is looking forward to the challenge with the fresh new ideas that we have on the drawing board.
With softball on a hiatus for the past year due to the pandemic, Sears said they re preparing to present their plan to the community and hopefully they can rejuvenate the interest in the sport.
Everything, however, will depend on the outcome of the elections, according to Sears, as they devise a Back to the Ballpark policy.
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